for John Philip Barker, 1930-2014

Just because this poem is set in autumn
doesn’t mean it’s about death
though my uncle is dying
in our ancestral flatlands
rusted over with leaves
corn just gray stumps
under leaden clouds

Children die of boredom
but seeing for miles
over fallow fields
is predictable and comforting
no need to tap the brakes
at four way stops
on dead straight roads

Distant aunts and uncles
with short attention spans
left farm houses now haunted
by stony fathers of fathers
and aproned mothers of mothers
memories coating the walls
like lead paint

Schools once vibrant
now windowed with plywood
their most valuable crop
harvested to a different life
of distractions before the horizon
no longer able to see stars or uncles
so old and so far away


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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